CourseVector’s Dos and Don’ts of SEO
SEO Should be as Natural as Falling in Love
The art of creating good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your website should be as natural as falling in love. Everything you do or don’t do for your website to get higher rankings on Search Engine Results pages (SERP) should not be forced or phony, but genuine. It’s like trying to make someone fall in love with you, the harder you try the more you are apt to push them away. Trying to make Google, Bing, or any of the other search engine indices “fall in love” with your site should never be contrived, but well-planned and well-orchestrated. Getting to the top of search engine rankings, though complicated at times, is not difficult if done naturally.
Remember the old cowboy western TV shows where the good guys always wore a white hat and always did the right things? Weren’t those the guys we always admired? And, the guys in the black hats were always the bad guys who held up banks, bullied innocent old folks into giving up their land, and robbed trains. These were the guys we despised, weren’t they? That’s exactly how we got black hat and white hat tactics with SEO; well of course it started with hackers being labeled black hat or white hat hackers, and then gray hats were added to the mix when it was a little harder to distinguish what was good and proper, or there was a fine line between those tactics. The same can be said for today’s SEO practices.
Let’s take a look at the white hat practices, or the DOs to achieve higher search engine rankings and the black hat practices, or the DON’Ts of search engine optimization.
Do #1 The URL
Do use Search Engine Friendly (SEF) URLs. The natural place to start looking at a website for obvious SEO practices is the front door. The front door of any website is the URL. URL is an acronym or abbreviation for Uniform Resource Locator, which is basically the website’s address. A website’s URL can tell search engine analysts and searching consumers a lot about the site immediately. The URL itself is static and can’t change without buying a new domain name, but the extender or permalink. If a URL is environmentallyfriendlypaperproducts.com/printerpaper the analyst or consumer knows almost exactly what they will find on this site. Additionally, this is a natural place to insert a keyword for that page. A website’s URL permalinks should be clear to search engine analysts and searchers. Achieving that could be as easy as enabling that setting on WordPress or Joomla! With other platforms it may be necessary to contact the website’s administrator.
Don’t #1 Introductions
Don’t compel possible consumers to watch an introductory video prior to allowing entrance to the required data or shopping pages. This is bothersome to possible consumers as well difficult for search engine bots to crawl the site. Although a website can be set up in a wide variety of styles and videos can be amazing when done properly, the industry standard is to have a navigation bar running down the left side or along the top of the home page. If that video is indeed awe inspiring, perhaps letting it play off to the side is a better option, letting the visitor decide if they wish to watch it full-screen.
Do #2 Incorporate links to Important Pages on the Home Page
Do include links to pages that are relevant to searchers or search engines on the home page. This will make it simple for search engine bots and visitors to conclude which pages are significant and search engines will assume those are beneficial to include in their search results.
Don’t #2 Navigation Links
Never make the website’s primary navigation panel images! To be accessible to search bots, internal pages must appear in the navigation as text links; if not, those will more than likely not be included in search results. And, be careful about using fly-out or drop-down menus for navigation as these are often difficult to click on using mobile devises.
Do #3 Use Mobile-Friendly Apps and Settings
Recently, Google started using App friendliness in its ranking algorithms and as of 21 April will initiate mobile-friendly page rankings for websites that make it easier for mobile device users to conduct their search without having to make changes to their phones or other mobile devices. So, get ahead of the power curve and make the necessary changes prior to implementation. Check the mobile loading speed here.
Don’t #3 Use Doorway Pages
Don’t ever use doorway pages to boost your search engine rank! This is a practice of designing a page just for rankings and then deflecting the searcher to a different site. This practice is beyond doubt a black hat practice that Google is trying to eliminate. This is very frustrating for searchers who are taken to the same page from search engine results pages (SERPs) repeatedly, even though they click on different links. During the past five years or so, Google has sent warnings to administrators and site owners with little follow-up. Now using these deceptive practices could result in getting your site banned from SERPs.
Do #4 Use Meta Tags and Meta Description’s
Don’t #4 Use non-relevant Keywords
Although this has been covered in many forums and blogs, people are still peppering their sites with non-relevant keywords just to rank higher on SERPs. Use only words that are related to the site (naturally) to gain ranking, as well as the right visitors to the page. A valuable (free) tool is the Google Keyword Planner.
Do #5 Speed up Loading Times
The quicker a website loads, the more often visitors will stay and actually complete a purchase or at least register. Today’s internet users are more and more frustrated with slow-loading sites, and with so many choices on the SERPs, they will click off that site and go to another. Furthermore, Google and other search engines use loading time as a factor in ranking a site. So, “every second counts” when it comes to sales and registering potential future clients. Optimize those JPEGs using JPEG Mini or another minimizer without losing quality; delete duplicate content; fix broken links; and use Google analytics. After implementing these changes, use Google Page Speed Insights to check your page speed.
Do #6 Use .XML Sitemap Generator
Visit http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/, enter the website address when prompted and what is basically a big map of all the pages on the site is created. The site administrator must enter this site map into the site’s main directory or use File Transfer Protocol (FTP) software to upload it. Then, submit the sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools.
Stick to the white hat practices of SEO, avoid the gray whenever possible, and steer clear of black hat practices like the plague. Whenever changes are made to the website, test those changes with Google Webmaster Tools and once again check the website’s loading speed to ensure optimum loading speeds. If you use the Dos and avoid the Don’ts, your website’s rank will increase significantly.